The Malta Independent 22 September 2019, Sunday

Updated: Urgent court request filed to prevent destruction of VGH evidence after news article

Friday, 24 May 2019, 16:14 Last update: about 5 months ago

NGO Repubblika has filed an urgent court request, asking that the duty magistrate takes steps to prevent the destruction of evidence after VGH reportedly started closing down offshore companies highlighted by local news outlet The Shift News.

The court application asks magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit to immediately issue a European Investigative Order and a monitoring order, together with any other measures the court deems necessary to prevent the stultification of any eventual magisterial inquiry.

The court later ordered notification of Repubblika’s application and this decree to the AG for “for all necessary steps” to be taken accordingly in terms of the law on monitoring orders.

The court will pronounce itself on the rest of Repubblika’s request, namely for a European Investigative Order to be issued, in a later date.

"The applicants want that all the evidence and traces be preserved in the interests of justice and now can better understand why the suspected persons asked for two months to file their reply instead of the week originally proposed by the court, and that is to clean up the scene of the crime as much as possible in the meantime."

On 13 May, Repubblika had filed an application asking for the launching of a magisterial inquiry into the contracts relating to the privatisation of hospitals, citing reasonable suspicion that these were in breach of anti money laundering laws.

Today's urgent application was prompted by the publication of an article by The Shift News which states that efforts were being made by those involved to cover their tracks.  "Recent company registry filings in Jersey show that Sri Ram Tumuluri has placed nine of the previously hidden Jersey companies involved in the Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) concession's web of offshore companies and contracts into liquidation.

"These offshore companies, revealed as the result of an investigation by The Shift News, appear to have been established to extract 'commissions' from the Maltese companies holding the concession in Malta."

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